AAU to protect young athletes with mandatory background checks

A lot of risks that young athletes face unfortunately get ignored until something bad happens. Of course, coaches and parents try to protect their athletes by providing them with shin guards, catchers equipment and youth football pads, but the safety issues they face aren't always on the field.

Following the recently surfaced allegations of misconduct by the former Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) president Bobby Dodd, the organization released promising news this week to prevent any incidents like the ones Dodd is tied to.

Effective September 1, when the new AAU membership cycle begins, all coaches, staff members and volunteers will be subject to mandatory background screenings, according to The Associated Press. If any information is discovered that may imply they are a threat to children, they will be permanently barred from working in AAU programs.

The tests will be conducted by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, which has conducted more than 5.5 million background checks over the last 15 years for organizations such as Little League Baseball and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the source reports.

"It probably should have been done a long time ago …There's a term we use every day – change. That's what all this is about,'' active AAU president, Louis Stout told the media outlet. "I don't think about what we didn't do, I think about what we are going to do. And that is change the perception of this organization hopefully across the rest of its serving youth across this country.''

In addition, adults will be forbidden to be alone in a room with children, and the organization will be cracking down on hazing.